We had an amazing opportunity to share at an English class for refugees.
Since the beginning of the windup of this political go-around, I quickly realized that there were two main issues that cared about: abortion and refugees/immigrants. So long after the press is done talking about it, I am stilling thinking about it.
Before Alan's picture I was pretty ignorant about refugees in general, and it made me realize I needed to change that. After posting on Facebook about refugees and immigrants, I quickly realized that people I cared about strongly disagreed with me. I needed to go deeper. If this was an issue worth talking about, worth caring about, worth arguing about, then it was an issue worth doing something about. And I didn't just want to throw money at the issue- I wanted to become more personally involved.
Enter Em, a friend through a friend who works with refugees in Indiana. Her organization was the one that was going to help resettle the family from Syria before the Indiana Governor protested. And so Em gave us the opportunity to meet some refugees and share with them about Brazil. As soon as you meet refugees in person, the issues change. The discussion changes. We throw around the word "refugee" so easily, but when it is a roomful of people, it turns from issues to faces. From arguments to stories. From walls to bridges. Because you have brought a whole big complex abstract discussion down to a smile and a "how do you do?" And that is necessary.
So we spoke. And passed out candy. And talked about culture and how Brazilians greet with a kiss on both cheeks. And one man came up to me afterward and pressed $10 into my hand, saying he wanted to give to the children in Brazil. He fled his country for fear of his life, has four children, is learning a new language, and starting over--and his heart is to give to my kids. I was overwhelmed.
But, you may say, not all refugees are like that one group you met. True. But what if they are? Can we hold that question in our hands as well? Have you met them? Have you met one?